ASHRAE has released a new standard that provides a test method to determine the heat gain generated by office equipment.
The growing use of plug loads coupled with insufficient data on how much energy they generate present a challenge to engineers in determining how to best cool a building.
ASHRAE/ANSI Standard 203-2014, Method of Test for Determining Heat Gain of Office Equipment Used in Buildings, prescribes methods of test to determine the range and average operating heat gains of electrical equipment for use in cooling load calculations.
The standard applies to plug-load type electrical equipment. Plug loads (computers, monitors, printers, projectors, etc.) use between 20% to 50% of a building’s energy.
Increased use of computers and advances in building techniques and building envelopes have made heat gain from electrical equipment a larger factor in engineering cooling systems.
“Most plug loads operate at a fraction of their nameplate electrical load, so, as a result, produce significantly less heat load than engineers may use in their cooling load calculations based on those nameplate values,” according to an ASHRAE statement. “This can result in over-sizing of air-conditioning equipment, resulting in extra initial cost for that equipment as well as higher operating cost.”